My First of Many Helicopter Rides Occurred at Mt. Rushmore in 1966
The first time I ever rode in a helicopter was on a vacation to Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1966. As I recall, it cost all of $7.50 which wasn't cheap in those days. The pilot gave us a bird's eye view of the Presidential faces and some of the roads in and around the park. It was thrilling and would be the first of many rides in a helicopter for me. Two years later I had the opportunity to take my next ride at the Grand Canyon. From my experience on that particular ride I can tell you I know what it would feel like to drive a car over the edge of the Grand Canyon. Our pilot took off from his landing pad located a few miles South of the canyon and traveled just above the tree tops along the road at the speed of 90 knots and followed the same trajectory for a bit that a car would going over the edge at that speed! Wow!!! That was a most incredible and unforgettable experience! Since that time I have experienced countless helicopter rides including many while serving in the military in South Viet Nam and more recently on vacations to the Hawaiian Islands. I consider myself very fortunate to have unforgettable experiences that began at one of our National Parks.